Sunday, September 27, 2009

Stridulation in the garrigue

Autumn eventullay began last Tuesday, the 22nd September. But, sunny Summer kept above Montpellier. Cutting through the garrigue by bike is always wonderful.

Talking of garrigue, a middle school in Montpellier is named after this vegetal form you can find around the place - after you go past houses, lower buildings, higher towers and bars of low-rent appartments. Because it is in the middle of the Heights of Massane, one part of La Paillade's popular area. However I advice you to do a morning visit to take pleasure in the panoramas on the surroundings garrigues in the directions of Grabels and Juvignac (and to see the effects of urban nibbling.

The meter is not pagnolesque at all. Very efficient to know how to keep in touch with the shcool though. What shall we do? Go back to Cannes or encourage the creation of logotypes and personalised stamps by students? La Poste would be happy, but not the school's treasurer.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nouméa still got pictorial cancellation

Flammes, French late 20th century pictorial cancellations, are still resisting in the French Republic, but like the times when the General was in London, it is overseas that you have to search for.

From Nouméa, in post paid ("PP" in the middle date block while the upper "P[oste].P[rincipale]" is for "Main Post Office"), this flamme appears on the enveloppes that the philatelic service of the Post and Telecommunications Office of New Caledonia uses to send the new stamp issue flyers.

It is illustrated by Saint-Joseph Cathedral and, it seems to me, the Coconut Palm Kiosk (kiosque des cocotiers).

A philatelic service that I recommend to you.

Philatelicly contraceptive humour

No, this is not a campaign from French philatelic service's Director Eslinger promoting her Greek condom to avoid the multiplication of demanding collectors.

The French National Institute of Prevention and Education for the Health (INPES) launches a website on contraception with small humorous cartoons, and posters and clips on unexpected situations.

"No, darling. That, it's my patch" (credits, INPES website).

On the topic of arranging one's postage stamp collection, an introduction to the contraceptive patch for women, the skin equivalent of the pill.

With all that Phil@poste can print on autoadhesive stamps of France, the error becomes so easy to make :p

Friday, September 25, 2009

Electoral duty on patriotic cancellation

In Germany, pictorial cancellations promote the political life of the country.

This postmark announces the federal legislative elections in Germany on Sunday 27 September 2009 („Bundestagswahl 27.09.09“). The sentence under the ticked round may tell "Each vote counts" as the verb zählen means to count. This cancellation was applied in mail center number 54, sorting mail of the Western part of Rhineland-Palatinate Land.

In Germany, voters tick their vote on a long ballot on which parties are listed on two columns (example). Each citizen has got two votes: one for a local member of parliament elected and one for a correcting proportional list suffrage. In conclusion, each party can be represented while electors can have a known parlementary figure to turn to.

When could this healthy mission of public service be done in France by La Poste and its competitors?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

British online postage

Received yesterday, 23 September 2009, this postage on a Postcrossing card sent in Wales.

The online stamp by Royal Mail (with an airmail-and-commercial label).

We are far away from the illustrative Montimbrenligne online service of La Poste in France. Utility first and for all, even if it lacks the royal effigy, even a crown. The printing adds what you need for an airmail service with a message promoting the online service: "This postage was printed using / ».

A disconnected adress since you are directed on Royal Mail's front page with three entrances: personal clients, businesses or corporations. The online postage is easy to find though.

And quick and efficient: where in three choices and weight. Then, precision of destination if necessary. Her Majesty's Forces are one of the choices ; respect of military duty is not vain in Anglo-Saxon countries. And hop, all the postage solutions are here from the more simple (0.56 pounds like here, around 0.61 euro/0.99 dollar) to the registered insured packets.

Personal touch: I would have preferred a Machin :'(

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Modern art or postal art?

After Finland, there is an other European country whose historical postal operator has proven philatelic inventivity to reach a point it became an eventual editorial line: the Netherlands and its TNT Post.

From souvenirs of the 1990s Timbroloisirs, it came back the two cows marching to the following stamp ad libidum. Definitive values as simple as they were artistically researched.

Here, my eye got art from the postal label se-tenant:
If there were not twenty seven years between the study for horizon by Sigurdur Gudmudsson and the 2006 stamp, man can believe the picture was taken for the stamp on purpose, at a few inclining degrees short. The Icelandic artist has many artwork exhibited on Netherlandese public spaces.

The four stamps of the series, European rate (TNT Post website's archives).

A blue postal element that permit, in my opinion, to change the category of this little 2.6 time 2 centimeter stamp: from a copy/paste picture often soulless to an artistic stamp.

The kiwi, a new philatelic currency

On 7 September 2009, New Zealand Post revolutionarised its definitive stamps and its nationwide postage rate system, creating by communication a new philatelic currency: the kiwi...
The ten first KiwiStamps ( news site).

Sold in booklets of ten, sheets of fifty or rolls of one hundred, these typical pictures of the life in New Zealand bear the name of the country, New Zealand Post's silver fern and the new KiwiStamp calling.

Already, some issues praised the kiwi's particularities, from the fruit to the bird passing through the European descent of the inhabitants themselves.

Known by many countries, the non denominated stamp is enough for a basic letter. One for the standard service, that is 0.50 New Zealand dollar (around 0.24 euro or 0.36 dollar of the United states). Two for a speeder service, that is 1 dollar (around 0.48 euro or 0.72 dollar). This system extended to many dimensions and weights like in Belgium, in a more simple way.

The new WikiStamp rate system (New Zealand Post website).

To each cover format, the size, thickness or weight limites so that you can conclude the postage expressed in a number of KiwiStamps.

Like in Belgium, a client can wonder where the trap is: would not the larger or heavier mail be exponantially more expensive at each point's value increase?

In the New Zealand case, I see that the first weigh level is quite large: up to five hundred grams for a simple letter whose speed delivery is quite reasonable in price. Even up to one kilogram in case of unregular shapes.

To the client to choose: to mail many things inside a reduced size that can be economic in hand and machine sorting and energy consumption. Or post less but in any wished form but more expensive at the first grams.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Czech vintage

Pretty stamp and label on grape, issued in January 2008, by J. a L. Knotkovi... but I can not read enough czech language to discover more on this or these artists.

The World Association for the Development of Philately Numbering System adds an artistic title, as the engraving is: "still life of wine".

Déjà vu?

Here is a card that my family sent for my birthday during the Summer:

Why this sense of déjà vu?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Finland personalised stamp and French postal cautiousness?

Finnish people, Posti and Postcrossing eventually constitute an innovating team. Last morning surprise: yesterday Saturday 19 with the arrival of a card whose message was dated Wednesday 16 September 2009.

The first class stamp (0.80 euro usable depending weight for the interior and the European rates) is thin and plastified. It seems autoadhesive, like most of the stamps of Finland.

The 3.2 × 2.4 centimeter illustration is very small inside the 4,2 × 3,9 stamp from tooth to tooth. And it has got a date and an hour of the photograph being taken: "22/08/2009 15:23".

All appearances of a personalised stamp. Google Images helps find two another examples: one like this train stamp and another on a blog in March 2009 with an elliptical perforation à la Royal Mail. This second model can be seen on the official site of the Omakuva service, a Finnish word for self portrait. To know more would request better Finnish translation or to register the webshop.

A proof of validity can be distinguished under day light: the stamp surface has got many rounded points that a sorting machine can see.

Now, why did I speak of "French postal cautiousness"? There are two things missing on this postcard. Yet, it arrived in three days. By experience that quite efficient and usual between Finland and France.

No cancellation in Finland. Already seen and always in debate: simple error? Economy of ink? Respect of the illustration? A Finnish reader suggested his hypothesis: the place of posting can play, either a post office counter or a mail box.

No French salmon barcodes printed in a French mail center to direct the card to final destination. A machine at the arrival center may not have appreciated the personalised stamp and the lack of cancellation. The human checking let it through: known case? Benefit of the doubt? [plus the bad social context inside La Poste's mail centers] Certainly, put by hand in the bag to Montpellier. May this story happen again in one of Montpellier centers where the card finished by hand in the good box then the good postman race?

Too much questions from a so railway-cute holiday souvenir.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In Belgium, store your stamps

Belgium postal service's rates are becoming more and more difficult if you are an e-mail user.

Good point first, there is only the prioritary rate: 0.59 euro nationwide, 0.90 Europe. Economic rate is only for clients using meter machines that help La Poste/De Post to spare cancel ink. The postal direction communicated that all mail were delivered the day after posting. To accept that your letter was non prioritary was senseless.

However, since 2007, you have to master the point system: Belgian points, European points, that you can collect depending on weight.

Starting next 1st January 2010, it is how you can get the points... sorry the postage stamps, that will change. At the postal desk, if you buy less than ten nationwide stamps or five European rate stamps, you will pay ten cents more per stamp!

Belgian consumers are encouraged to buy booklets. To avoid the queuing time cost to their fellow consumers and to limit the financial cost of the postal clerck. He is not there to separate stamps, isn't he? Is he!?

In exchange, the first rates are not rising if you play by the new rule.

Two worries yet. For collectors, they will certainly have to order to the philatelic service or go to a philatelic office if they want single stamps without the ten cent penalty.

A sentence seems to indicate that La Poste wants to get rid of old unused postage stamps: if you do not use the points stamps, you will have to stick 0.69 euro facial value stamps... Either you continue to store them, or you lose ten cents per letter.

Eslinger-the-tattooing-woman (and the Philatelic Service Directors Circus) will perhaps find there a solution to make sure that tatooed stamps are kept in the collectors' albums...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eugène Vaillé: first curator of the French postal museum

The Société des amis du musée de La Poste[1] is just publishing this month a special issue of its magazine dedicated to the first curator of La Poste's Museum: Eugène Vaillé, born in the high cantons of Hérault and a postal servant.

The book's cover, available for fifteen euros.

Laurent Albaret piloted this project of an illustrated and well-referenced biography: act of nominations, philatelic souvenirs of the museum's first exhibitions, familial archives.

Page 10, you discover the acts of a new postal servant's life in the late 19th and young 20th centuries. On the act naming Vaillé, the justice clerk stuck a fiscal stamp of dimension. I think the new employed young man had to pay for it.

Those, fluent in French, who read Albaret's recent articles in L'Écho de la timbrologie will now go deeper into the character's life and career.

If you are in Paris on 19 September or Bédarieux and Poitiers on 19 and 20, you can put the stamp issued for the fiftieth anniversary of Vaillé's disappearance, and the first day cancellation. The first pages of the magazine has got enough blank spaces for that, I think. The stamp designer, André Lavergne, will be signing artworks at the Paris first day site: La Poste's Museum, near Montparnasse Station.

The life of Eugène Vaillé in Hérault (Google Maps).

Hérault now, my native department. Vaillé was born there in 1875 in Bédarieux, a canton seat in the high grounds of the coastal department. He studied in Lodève where his father traded wool. After his successful competitive examination for a postal employment, he was named in 1894 at the telegraph center of Montpellier.

Then, like many public servants in France, even now, transfers by service's needs or will moved him to Normandy and Lyon. He finished in Paris where - happily for the French philately - he reached in 1920 the Ministry of Posts' Library...

He finished his life in the village of Riols, in Hérault, and was buried in Bédarieux.

[1] The Society of the Friends of La Poste's Museum, founded 1947, when the Museum opened.

Monday, September 14, 2009

A cent is a cent, and fifty thousand cents is a big note

Since the introduction of the euro coins and banknotes on 1st January 2002, a Nessy monster appears regularly in the European populist press: one and two cent coins are going to disappear!

The rumor probably got its root into the Finnish old allergy to tiny coins. Add the legendary French-Mediterranean lazyness: to count.. bahhh! Plus the satisfaction of price-in-weight dealers to round their prices up to the next ten cents... only to make their clients happy. Even if these clients have been complaining on rounded inflating prices since 2002. Sigh.

Cent-Nessy has a little brother: Euro-Noty. The one euro coin will disappear in favor of a one euro banknote. Either to compete with the green dollar (the real ones and the false ones which are rumored to be everywhere in the world), or by lazyness again: too much weight in one's pockets.

On last Thursday, in France, Nessy and Noty have a brother. You swear it is not from the same family: the five hundred euro note is going to disappear!!!

Design: Robert Kalina for the European Central Bank (image source).

First, a picture for the reader who use their credit card as soon as twenty-five euros. Germans know it better, not by wealth, but because our European fellowmen like to weight in their hand how much their investments cost them: car, flat, rebuilding the house. Before to give the packet to the seller. A need born in an economic history marked by inflation and shortage between World War One and the rise of a strong Mark under the Federal Republic of 1949.

Le Journal du dimanche of yesterday, 13 September 2009, took notice of a report by Didier Migaud, Isère Member of Parliament. A text received by the Presidency of the French National Assembly on Thurday 10. It is about fiscal paradises and fiscal evasion.

Among the numerous solutions proposed by the Parliamentary Commission on Finances, there is the disappearance of the five thousand banknote. It is too easy to get thousands of euros out of the country because of this note's portability. More seriously, it is one step in a full policy: impose electronic or certified payment above a certain amount. Even to make an obligation for French banks to declare financial transferts to listed countries.

The more mediatic idea (no more five thousand notes) is not going to pass until many years because you need to get aboard all the Euro using States. But it will hide long enough the other more private life disturbing propositions.

Let's come back to collection: some dealers as Lutèce Diffusion are already trying to sell new euro coins by using the Nessy argument. Will they use the five thousand euro rumor to sell pristine banknotes well above their face value?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Joyeux anniversaire, Stamp Magazine !

The British monthly Stamp Magazine is celebrating its seventy-five years of activity with the October 2009 issue, available in newstands until the first week of that month (in France, at the WHSmith on Rivoli Street, Paris).

To summarize: pleasant and easy-to-find reading of news and auctions pages, and specialised yet accessible articles of one to five pages.

On the competitive side, articles are more specialised and need a more attentive reading in Gibbons Stamp Monthly, even if the news pages need a serious revamp. GSM has been proposing its services since 1927, or 1890 if you consider the successive publications of Stanley Gibbons.

With this anniversary issue, a fac-similé of the October 1934 number 1 is offered and commented by Richard West. Sixteen of the current editors and writers present seventy-four philatelic events of the United Kingdom and the world from 1934 to 2008. Like often in Stamp Magazine way of writing, the small facts, long forgotten, are retrieved and told to learn again how the postage stamp and postal system evolved since the 1930s. Thank to Adrian Keppel, the European definitives are not forgotten.

An article by John Winchester on Croydon Airport's postal activities in South London echoes the 1934 article by R. Ridgway on the first airmail flights between England and Australia to be officialised in December 1934.

The news pages are catching, readable and wide: from a scandal in Norway where Nobel price of literature, but nazi supporter, Knut Hamsun was commemorated by a stamp, to the closing of a dealer's shop in London, due to high rent and web sales.

So British are, to a French reader of magazines, the auction sales. They are a large part of the advertising and have their own news part. Investphila of Switzerland proposed classical stamps of Uruguay while buyer-auctionist Tony Lancaster studies without excess the question of auction catalogues: illustrated or simple listing, free or sold.

The Monaco Postage Stamp Issuing Office continues to parade its model with stripping stamps. This time, the dress is of one well-affixed stamp. One stamp that aims to Britishmen: a Monaco stamp for the one hundred and fifty years of Big Ben.

Happy birthday, Stamp Magazine! And to read you again next month!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Meter from Hungary

Printed on 22 November 2007 for a mail sent to France, here is a postage meter from Debrecen, Hungary:
Let's have some Magyar holidays to know if it is a meter from a post office? Are post office meter and private clients meter alike?

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The thirty euros of September

By multiplying the booklets, the completist collector of France is seeing the total amount going through the roof. But, he must not complain, he was warned: the Charter let Phil@poste, the French philatelic service, free to do whatever it wants with the benediction of the supposed representatives of federated collectors.

The wait for "stamps of the State" will last until the end of the month. Phil@poste dedicates these stamps for collectors, considered one day a faithful and researched clientship, and a burden to be rid of the other. On 21 Septembre, Eugène Vaillé will be stamped: a French postal librarian, archivist, historian and the founding curator of the postal museum of France. You have to know that because the stamp by André Lavergne is quite anonymous (a portrait and the front wall of the first museum). On 28, the abbay of Royaumont will be depicted by Line Filhon.

From a very long band of paper, the Gardens of France series became rectangular and will become album-friendly for once :p

Even if I found the Jardins des plantes of Paris too green under Gilles Bosquet's bruches while I remembered something as dusty as the Garden of Luxembourg. At least, it will compensate the so-RED booklet of last Spring.

Funfair on a six stamp minisheet by Cécile Millet, why not? First day in the Jardin d'Acclimatation is to attract families, we already know.

Let come the booklets.

Perhaps in all good movie theater on 30 September, after the post offices on the 21st, the Smile booklet with funny drawings with the Little Nicolas character. Youth literature by René Goscinny (yes, Astérix's father) ponctuated with sketches by Sempé. Stamps sold in theater, that will be as fun as funfair stamps first day in a actual funfair...

Corinne Salvi is invited to produce fourteen Invitation stamps, if you like her illustrating style.

Let's remark for both these booklets that the six tiny stamps are designed according their size compared to the eight larger.

Great change for the more than fifty year old philatelic institution of France. The Red Cross issue became a five stamp minisheet (look like a booklet to me). Five different ones for the one hundred and fifty years of the non governmental organisation founded by Henri Dunant. Four historical by Marc Taraskoff and a Rorschach figure hidden inside an artwork by Georges Braque (supposedly doves).

Why the change? Because of the money change I think:
-> ten stamps = 5.60 euros + the gift to the Red Cross = you must break a big tenner.
-> five stamps = 2.80 euros + the gist = you give a little fiver.

If Phil@poste is trying to discreetly relaunch this issue and bust the Red Cross gifts, that is good. Moreover, the issue is mobing two months earlier to avoid the competition of the giftfree Best Wishes booklet.

But this issue is posing me (and some readers who wrote to me) a problem: can a buyer with a Phil@poste bills ask for the regular reduction of income tax for caritative gifts? I will try to have some intels soon.

So, near thirty euros this month, including two euros for the Red Cross. And there are the Paris Autumn Show's issues to come...